Is White Privilege really “sui generis?”

Considering the increasingly South Asian nature of our readership I thought I would add to the mix about some issues, people of colour face in the West.

Namely is “White Privilege” and it definitely is a thing; particular in certain sectors like entertainment. Furthermore it’s gotten to the point where the mighty and clever get away with enough to make sure they are still able to field white American stars in ethnic roles. Case example is Isle of Dogs, which is set in Japan but is entirely Euro-American in cast (I could be wrong but I didn’t check this in detail but Bryan C, Ed N, Frances D & Jeff G were the star cast among others).

This is not the point of my post to discuss white privilege. So far there have been two approaches to WP:

(1.) Angry Minority Approach: The tack taken by African Americans, Latinx & a smattering of Muslim-Jews-Hindus to tear down the edifice of institutional racism.

(2) Model Minority Approach: sort of the Jewish mode now followed by Asians. Let’s reach the top and be twice as good as the best.

However my approach is simple, which is to mock white privilege simply because it’s an ego-boost for under-achieving woke white liberals to feel good. I have a few example I can link to but I don’t want to cast aspersions..

The way we are subjected to the concept of white privilege is as though it is some mutated form of noblesse obligee. While I’m happy to concede that HM the Queen and Prince William are born with some privilege (the reigning monarch was Queen of Pakistan at some point) I’m not really going to assume that just because someone is white they are automatically better placed than me.

I do tire of Instagram and Facebook videos of woke white people educating other white people (there was an issue on redlining) featuring the token minority to insulate against claims of racism.

Being white or light is really no big deal; it’s only when society gives so much credence or Weight to it, do we make it a thing. When liberal white dudes are declaiming the construct whiteness they are in fact parading their own status; it’s all very warped..

Ps: My title refers to the fact that in India, there is Parsi & Brahmin privilege, there is WASP/Persian (subtle) privilege in the Bahá’í community etc.

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6 years ago

“I’m not really going to assume that just because someone is white they are automatically better placed than me”

I have issues with the way “white privilege” is approached by many, but I still think it does exist as a component of the social capital a white individual possesses. Since it is only one component of the total, many whites will have lesser overall privilege than many blacks even with white privilege.

I would think of it similarly to “Iranic privilege” in India that a commentator referred to in another thread. Having a northwestern look has its privilege, and ceteris paribus can help, but other things obviously matters too. Among your approaches, I think only the second one will succeed in the long run; others might have sporadic success at an individual level but won’t subvert overall privilege dynamics, IMO.

6 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

Anglo-indians are an example of a community who are often much lighter skinned than the highly Iranic, but are sort of beyond the pale when it comes to marriage alliances. Religion not being the main reason because higher social capital groups like syrian/catholic keralites would be seen as quite acceptable.

Razib Khan
6 years ago

the SJW left and white supremacists think white privilege is sui generis. one group thinks it’s bad. the other thinks it’s awesome.

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